Joseph works as an editor in one of the magazines dedicated to video games. Here, at RecRoomPick, he’s given the opportunity to enjoy the reverse of the medal – the no less engaging world of offline games.
Ryan knows everything when it comes to gaming, both online and offline. Since his early years he’s been in love with arcades, air hockey, and foosball. Finally, he’s given the opportunity to share his knowledge and opinion on the hobby of his life (and even get paid for it!).
Last updated: February 23, 2021
Rec Room Pick is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
Pickleball has become a highly popular sport in recent years because it’s very easy to learn how to play while being incredibly entertaining at the same time. Whether you are brand new at pickleball or a veteran player, choosing the best pickleball paddle can help improve your technique and get the most out of the game.
We reviewed dozens of the best pickleball paddles on the market and found the ONIX Graphite Z5 Pickleball Paddle to be the best option for beginners and experienced players alike. This paddle offers superior ball control and is easy to handle at the same time. We also gathered and reviewed seven other popular pickleball paddles that all offer superior quality for all types of users.
Our research team spent many hours researching the best pickleball paddles out there, taking into account various features that make them suitable for beginner players or veterans. We looked at factors such as weight, ease of use, durability, and grip size. The surface and core materials the paddles are made from are also important, and we selected paddles that offer a good balance between features and price. You can find the results of our research in the comparison table below, which is completed by in-depth reviews for each of the paddles. A buying guide at the very end helps you make an informed choice and get the best pickleball paddle for your needs.
"Composite surface provides enhanced control for both beginners and advanced players, in combination with precision-cut polypropylene core, which absorbs sounds, this all makes this model worth considering."
"Nomex honeycomb core material and graphite surface without any doubt make this model the most durable one, and combined with other features it is a perfect sample of good balance between control and power."
The ONIX Graphite Z5 Pickleball Paddle is one of the most commonly seen paddles on the courts and the reason behind its popularity is its versatility. This almost iconic paddle is highly recognizable thanks to the Z on the front and is approved by USAPA for tournament play. One of the first things that you will notice when you pick up this pickleball paddle it is how wide it is. At 8-1/8 in., the ONIX Graphite Z5 Pickleball Paddle is larger than many other of the paddles we reviewed. Featuring a nomex honeycomb core and a graphite surface material, this paddle puts a great effect to your shots. The large sweet spot area makes it ideal for those who’re looking for a paddle that makes it the game easy to learn for beginners.
Because of its nomex core, the paddle is rather lightweight, especially when compared with its composite counterpart. The paddle is very popular among players because it has more “pop” than other of the models we looked at. This means that the amount of force the paddle absorbs is not too high, so the ball bounces right off the face. The ONIX Graphite Z5 Pickleball Paddle is an ideal choice for beginners who want to get started on the right foot with pickleball. It is a bit expensive than other models marketed for beginners, but its versatility is highly worth it.
One of the high-end pickleball paddles available out there, the Pro-lite Titan Black Diamond Pickleball Paddle is a suitable choice for advanced players, being used by professionals at national championships. The core material inside the paddle, which is black carbon fiber, is the strongest one you can currently find on the market, according to the manufacturer. This paddle has plenty of shock absorption, while still offering players enough texture for good spin.
The Pro-lite Titan Black Diamond Pickleball Paddle is made from the same type of carbon fiber material that is used for the bodies of NASCAR racing cars. Moreover, it has a low-profile edge guard that offers enhanced protection while minimizing the chances of mishits.
This high-end pickleball paddle has a sleek and modern look and a balanced sweet spot that is enhanced by the large paddle face. According to the manufacturer, it is less noisy than most of the other pickleball paddles on the market, and reviewers generally confirmed that.
Many of the users who tested this pickleball paddle liked its low profile and the fact that this is a very durable choice that is likely to serve you well for the years to come. While the Pro-lite Titan Black Diamond Pickleball Paddle is not an affordable paddle, the high-end design and durability make it an excellent option for those who want to invest in a pro paddle to improve their playing technique.
The Onix Evoke Pro Pickleball Paddle is a model that truly stands out from the crowd. It boasts of a polypropelene honeycomb core and a composite surface and provides enhanced control for both beginners and advanced players.
Because it has a composite face, this paddle is a quiet one, so you may want to consider it if you’re looking for equipment that you can use at communities where there are noise restrictions on paddles in place.
Onix Sports is a well-known company in the world of paddles, and this high-quality paddle is proof their reputation is deserved. The Onix Evoke Pro Pickleball Paddle has an oversized shape with a width of 7.9 in, and a handle that is longer than that you may expect to find on a pickleball paddle. The length of the handle may remind you more of a tennis racket, which is something many players would actually prefer because it provides them with excellent grip and better control.
The Onix Evoke Pro Pickleball Paddle is available in multiple colors and features prominent graphics that make it instantly recognizable. Some of the users who reviewed it mentioned that its look might not be for everyone because it attracts instant attention, but overall, this is one of the best quiet pickleball paddles with long handle that you can currently find on the market.
Manufactured by Gamma Classic, a name that is highly recognizable in the world of pickleball, the Gamma Classic 1.0 Pickleball Paddle comes with a reinforced live periphery frame, a type of structure that does a great job at increasing the durability of the edges and removing dead spots. The aramid honeycomb core provides this paddle with a very solid feel, and most of the users who tested it mentioned that they liked the level of control the paddle offers them during a game.
The contoured grip of the Gamma Classic 1.0 Pickleball Paddle makes a world of difference when it comes to comfort during playing. The stitched ribbing and perforations contribute to the gripping power, but the handle also does a great job when it comes to absorbing moisture. This is a very good feature for players whose hands tend to get too sweaty when they play. Moreover, the cushioned surface of the handle makes it feel great in your hand.
The Gamma Classic 1.0 Pickleball Paddle features a flush fit bumper that can increase the hitting area by 30 percent. This means that you get more room to hit the ball without having to worry about the edge guard getting in the way.
We liked this paddle because it is an ideal choice for players who like to use speed techniques and control players. It is also a good choice for players who are on the lookout for a lightweight paddle with a highly comfortable handle.
Selkirk is a well-known name in the world of pickleball paddles and the Selkirk Prime S2 Pickleball Paddle has the largest surface area and sweet spot in their entire range. This paddle is a suitable choice for players of all skill levels and play styles. The paddle has an exceptional build quality and sports a polypropylene X4 core and a FiberFlex fiberglass surface. One of the main benefits of this paddle is the fact that it has a large sweet spot while also offering lots of control for beginners and advanced users alike.
We liked this paddle because it is designed for durability and performance, while being suitable for beginners and professionals alike. The large face makes it easy to get the sweet spot, and overall the paddle has received lots of praise from users for the consistency it delivers during gameplay. The contour grip of the handle delivers a balanced swing-action. With the Selkirk Prime S2 Pickleball Paddle you can expect to get extra power doubled by a smooth movement. This paddle is USAPA tested and approved for tournament play and comes in a selection of colors to suit all tastes. While it may not be the perfect choice out there for heavy hitters, the Selkirk paddle provides a good level of comfort that will improve your playing technique, especially if you are a beginner.
The ARD HF100 Fiberglass Pickleball Paddle is our choice as the best pickleball paddle for beginners not only because it combines versatility with an affordable price tag, but also because it has a great grip and is suitable for intermediate users as well. This means that if you buy this paddle to get the hand of the game, you won’t have to change it soon because you’re looking for something better to help you transition to advanced playing.
This is one of the lightest paddles available on the market, and it sports a core made from polypropylene honeycomb. The construction of the paddle makes it ideal when it comes to shock absorption while making it quite enough to be usable on courts with noise restrictions in place. The face of the ARD HF100 Fiberglass Pickleball Paddle is made from fiberglass materials that provide users with lots of control and comfort. The acrylic bumper and polystyrene grip mold are doing a great job at absorbing vibration. The exclusive design of this ARD paddle provides extra stability, which is a big contributing factor when it comes to hitting the shots more consistently and accurately.
Most of the users who tested the ARD HF100 Fiberglass Pickleball Paddle liked its great grip that makes it ideal for those long hours you spend learning the ropes of pickleball, as well as the fact that is a rather affordable option that still delivers on quality.
If you’re looking for a highly durable pickleball paddle, the Rally NX Graphite Pickleball Paddle would be an excellent choice. This paddle is also a great option for players who are interested in getting a notable increase in speed. Moreover, the practical dimensions of this paddle make it suitable for any player, mostly because of the small circumference of the grip.
Users who tested and reviewed the Rally NX Graphite Pickleball Paddle especially enjoyed the great balance of power and control this paddle offers, together with a versatile design that suits most playing styles. While the core of this paddle, made from nomex honeycomb, may be a little less responsive than that of other paddles we reviewed, this Rally NX paddle provides a good balance between control and power.
This is not a great paddle for those with large hands, mostly because of the aforementioned small circumference of the grip. It does, however, make it very easy to switch hands while you play. Even though the Rally NX Graphite Pickleball Paddle has a couple of limitations, it offers a good experience for anyone, especially if you’re not a power player. It makes great option for those who are only starting with pickleball and are looking to get a paddle that is affordable yet durable at the same time.
Our budget pick is the Selkirk Prime Epic X4 Polypropylene Core Pickleball Paddle , an excellent all-around paddle that is designed with fast players in mind. The polymer honeycomb core of this paddle coupled with the high-quality composite surface material make it ideal for swift-swinging actions and power control. To top it off, the Pro-Lite Gamma grip ensures ease of movement ad comfort.
The Selkirk Prime Epic X4 Polypropylene Core Pickleball Paddle is significantly lower than many of the other paddles on the market and features a durable ultra-low-profile edge guard. Even though many think about this pickleball paddle as a basic model, it is USAPA tested and approved for tournament play.
On the paper, this looks like a better-quality paddle than you might expect in this price range. It comes, however, with a couple of downsides, and the most significant of them are the small sweet spot and the fact that beginners may find it rather tricky to manage. We liked that this paddle has a 5.25-inch handle that allows you to handle it easily and in time, achieve better reflexes. Most of the users who tested this paddle concluded that it provides better results than you might expect from a budget pickleball paddle.
What we liked:
Enhanced speed control
USAPA tested and approved for tournament play
What could be better:
Difficult for beginners to manage
Sweet spot is too small
Things to Consider
Whether you have just taken up pickleball or are a veteran of the sport choosing a new pickleball paddle requires some careful research. You may look for a budget-friendly paddle to help you get the hang of the game, or you may want to get a paddle that is designed with control players in mind. What you need to consider before parting with your money is the fact that finding the right paddle depends on your playing style. There are, of course, multiple other factors to take into account when shopping for the best pickleball paddle, and this buying guide provides you with all the information you need to make the correct choice.
Choosing the best pickleball paddle
Before moving to the characteristics you should look for when buying a pickleball paddle, it is essential to think about some basic things. First, consider essential elements such as the weight of the paddle, the way the grip suits your hands, and the shape of the paddle, to make sure it suits you preferred paying style. Some of the most important aspects to further consideration include the material the core and the surface of the paddle are made of, as well as the accuracy and extra features of the paddle.
Average weight – type of paddle
The average weight of a pickleball paddle is vital because it determines the way the paddle feels in your hands. Paddles range in weight from 6 to 14 ounces, with most of the ones we reviewed being in the 708 ounces range. Besides having an impact on the way the paddle feels in your hand, its weight will also determine how you can swing the paddle and control the ball while playing.
Heavier paddles generally give you less control over the ball than lighter ones, but as a rule of thumb, it is advisable to opt for a paddle with an in-between weight, especially if you are a beginner. This will allow you to control the ball the way you wish.
The width of a pickleball paddle has an influence on the way you are able to hit the sweet spot. According to most standard rules across clubs, the width should not be more than 24 inches. Our editor’s choice, the ONIX Graphite Z5 Pickleball Paddle is an excellent choice for those who are looking for a wide pickleball paddle.
Make sure the pickleball paddle you choose has a suitable grip circumference for your hand. Playing with a paddle that doesn’t fit well in your hand is likely to be uncomfortable and have a negative impact on your results. For example, if you’re playing with a paddle with a size grip that is too large for you, you may be prone to elbow injuries over time, not to mention you might have a hard time making contact with the ball while you play. You can determine the grip size you need by measuring your hands. As a rule of thumb, you may be suited for 4-1/8” grips or 4-1/4” grips, as it is for example by Pro-lite Titan Black Diamond Pickleball Paddle, if you are between 5’3” and 5’8” tall.
The main materials you may encounter for the core of pickleball paddles include wood, graphite, and composite.
Some of the most common paddles are made of wood, and they are generally the most affordable. They might also be rather heavy, and this means that you may need to sacrifice a bit of your control when playing with a wood paddle.
Composite paddles such as the Selkirk Sport 20P XL Epic Polymer Composite Pickleball Paddle are becoming more and more popular. They are constructed from aa composite core and a carbon fiber or fiberglass surface. The composite core itself may be made from aluminum and polymer, and rigid nylon, also known as Nomex may also be used.
Besides the core material, you also need to take into account the material the surface of the paddle is made of. Carbon fiber and fiberglass are often used on high-quality paddles, and the texture has an impact on the spin you can get for your shots. Carbon fiber surfaces are generally the best option for control players because they don’t generate as much pop as fiberglass ones. If you’re a heavy hitter, you may prefer fiberglass surfaces instead.
To get accurate shots, you need to make sure the pickleball paddle you choose is the correct weight and has the right grip size.
You should also determine whether you need your shots to be precise or whether you want to be able to drive powerfully because you generally can’t do both well with the same paddle. A paddle with a good balance is one that is not too lightweight, but not too heavy at the same time.
The shape of the paddle is also important for your playing style, but also for your comfort during the game. All paddles are rectangular, but some may be wider than others. The shape of the paddle determines the way you hit the sweet spot. The most common shape of pickleball paddle is wide and measures approximately 8 inches wide by 15¾ inches long.
Official regulations are standardized among clubs, and oversized paddles may not be USAPA approved, but for example ONIX Graphite Z5 Pickleball Paddle, being one of the widest models, is USAPA standardized. So just keep that nuance in mind if you want to opt for a more non-conventional shape and read the specs carefully before making a purchase.
The sweet spot is a term that you will hear a lot if you take up pickleball. This is a term that refers to the best possible shot you can get when you hit the ball directly with the center of the paddle. Pickleball paddles with an easy to hit sweet spot are recommended for beginners, because it can greatly help them with the accuracy of the shots, the best model for that is without no doubt Selkirk Prime S2 Pickleball Paddle.
The price range is a wide one when it comes to quality pickleball paddles, with graphite ones generally being the most expensive and wood ones the cheapest. You should expect to pay at least $100 for a high-quality paddle, and as much as $150 for a high-end graphite one. If you only want to have a bit of fun and don’t want to invest in an expensive paddle, you can get a mid-range composite model for up to $50.
Paddles designed for the indoor are generally quieter to conform to noise regulations and maintain a level of comfort for the players. As a rule of thumb, there are no paddles specifically designed for indoors and outdoors playing, but balls are made specifically for one environment or another.
A rough surface on a pickleball paddle, such as that given by graphite, helps to counteract the power you’re hitting the ball with, offering you better control. Smooth surfaces are a better idea for heavy hitters, but if you want control and accuracy, rough surfaces are your friend.
The majority of pickleball paddles have a core that simulates a honeycomb structure. This is what the composite looks like, so it’s a pattern. The honeycomb is made of a composite such as aluminum, polymer, or nomex. The honeycomb design works well for precision and accuracy in a pickleball paddle.
Wrapping It Up
Our editor’s choice, the ONIX Graphite Z5 Pickleball Paddle offers a good balance between durability and ease of use, which makes it ideal for beginner and advanced players alike. We liked its large sweet spot and the overall well-built construction, which makes it a pleasure to handle.
Finally, players who would prefer a polypropylene pickleball paddle may want to have a look at our third choice, the Onix Evoke Pro Pickleball Paddle. This paddle is great for any level player and can help you transform your playing style.
But no matter which pickleball paddle you decide to buy, make sure it is USAPA approved if you want to use it to compete in tournaments.